News In Brief

US consumer prices rose at the slowest pace in five months in November, the Labor Department reported. The consumer price index gained just 0.1 percent, as flat energy prices and a drop in tobacco costs helped keep inflation under control. The closely watched "core" component, stripping out food and energy, increased 0.2 percent.

A bidding war appeared likely for the one of the world's leading makers of snack foods, United Biscuits Plc. of West Drayton, England, after the company agreed to be bought by a US investor. Newly formed Burlington Biscuits, a consortium of Nabisco and Dallas-based buyout specialists Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst, said it will pay $1.9 billion for the struggling company. But a rival group led by French and British buyout specialists said it was reserving the right to issue a higher offer.

Ciba, the Swiss specialty chemicals giant, is selling its performance-polymers division to investment-management specialist Morgan Grenfell Private Equity for $1.2 billion, the companies announced in Basle, Switzerland. The polymers unit is a leading maker of epoxy resins for industry.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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